No matter what happens the Church will persevere just as God promised.
Though with a scornful wonder men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.
The church shall never perish! Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her, and false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor she ever will prevail.
(Samuel J. Stone, “The Church’s One Foundation” )
Luther on the purpose of the church:
[T]hat nothing else should take place therein than that our dear Lord Himself should speak with us through His holy Word, and we again speak with Him through prayer and praise.
When we have heard God’s Word we should bring before God our common holy smoke or incense, i.e., that we should together call upon Him and pray to Him.
Therefore where God’s Word is not preached, ’tis better people should neither sing nor read, nor come together.
Therefore we should know that God hath so ordained that none should come to knowledge of Christ or acquire forgiveness through Him or receive the Holy Ghost without external public means, but hath put such treasure in the oral word or preaching office, and will not establish it in a corner or secretly in the heart, but will have it cried aloud and imparted openly among the people, as Christ enjoined: ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.’
One of the areas that today’s churches need the greatest reformation is the area of church leadership. Although anyone in the church can contribute to problems in the church, at the end of the day, it is the leadership that is ultimately responsible. However, what happens when there are unqualified people serving in the position of influence and/or leadership? Unfortunately, this problem is all too common. For instance, what do you do when a senior pastor believes that a Mormon Church is just another denomination? How about a pastor’s wife who habitually talks ill about others who she feels are threat to her husband, yet he still remains in the ministry even though he acknowledges her sins publicly?
To read more click here.
Here are some words from the Puritans in 1647:
Saints by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus (Westminster Confession of Faith, 26.2).
If you’re interested, here’s my brief treatment of biblical theology of First Corinthians on the subject of how not to glorify God as a local church.
This article by Jewish Journal is one example of my growing concern for Korean Christians and churches who love family-values, traditions and history, yet fail to see the superiority and sufficiency of the gospel and its implications.
I had the privilege of sitting under the ministry of Dr. Jin Sup Kim (one of the men listed in the article) and served along him as a youth pastor. I grew to appreciate his scholarship, especially, in the area of the OT, but as this article demonstrates sometimes scholarship could get better of you, namely one’s evangelical distinction/conviction.
I believe in the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, which means the Bible is the final authority and is sufficient to address in the areas of family, education, finance, and other areas that Koreans may value. And what makes our evangelical distinction/conviction unique is that everything (including those areas mentioned) flows from properly understanding the gospel and its implications. Sure, one can learn from a Jew or Judaism about how to raise a family. But that does not mean it is gospel-driven or gospel-focused. The argument is no different than say learning from a Buddhist, Muslim, or a Mormon. The fundamental question is, what makes raising a family uniquely a Christian or Christianly? That is the question.
To argue that Christians need to adopt Jewish practices is to blur not only our theological distinctions but our theological practices.
Church discipline. That’s right. It is the most ignored subject and grossly neglected practice in today’s church.
However, what many Christians and churches do not realize is that whether a local church practice it or not actually determines whether she is rightly qualified to call herself a church. Many of the magisterial reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, have helped the Christendom since the Reformation that disciplining an unruly member is a mark of a true church. In fact, it was John Calvin who taught that three basic marks of a true church are: 1) preaching of God’s Word, 2) exercise of sacraments or ordinances, namely the baptism and the Lord’s Table, and 3) exercise of church discipline. Thus, if any so-called church that fails to have those three marks is not a true church.
If you are interested in this subject, I recently gave a four-part series on this subject from my exposition in Matthew 18. In Part 1, I argue that discipline is part of God’s redemptive-history (i.e., biblical history and biblical theology). In Part 2, I show that church discipline has been taught and practiced all throughout the church history, and it has been considered as a normal life of a local church. In Part 3, I state the purpose of church discipline and why some churches fail to implement it. Lastly, in Part 4, I address the steps or procedures of church discipline. The following are my transcripts:
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4 (Final)
Also, if you want to listen to the sermons, click here.